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April 05, 2009

Panda hype


The explanation, such as it is. More panda fashion at the link.

A model presents a creation by Chinese designer Zhao Bandi during a fashion show "China, A Nation of Pandas" in Paris, March 20, 2009. Zhao, a controversial artist who's better known as "Panda Man", is criticized by many online for panda hype.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at April 5, 2009 07:37 AM


Panda hype can easily be cured by some basic knowledge about real giant panda behaviour.

Giant pandas are one of the few large mammals that have evolved to the point where they are almost too stupid to survive.

Their ancestors were clearly carnivores, as the modern-day animals' digestive tract is optimised to extract nutrients from meat. Pandas lack the special bacteria and protozoans that herbivores use to break down cellulose. Yet their diet is 99% bamboo (two varieties in particular).

Pandas eat about 40lbs of bamboo a day, and extract about 20% of its energy value. A normal carnivore extracts 60-90% of the energy value of its meal.

In a study of 102 giant pandas (59 captive and 43 wild), 16% of them died from malnutrition.

Pandas are also notoriously bad at mating and propagating their own species. They are sexually active once a year for only a couple of days. The female often attacks the male immediately after mating. Various experiments to increase captive panda mating success (such as panda porn) have met with hilarious failure.

It is difficult to tell if pandas are pregnant because many females go through pseudopregnancy; that is, they have the physiological and behavioural signs of pregnancy, but are not actually pregnant.

A panda foetus stays fairly small and does not implant itself in the uterine wall until 45 days before birth, so it can be difficult to locate with ultrasound. Thus vets rarely know if even captive pandas are pregnant until they shoot out a baby.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 6, 2009 05:47 AM